Illinois State News for Monday, July 16


Published on July 16 2012 9:55 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

>>Extreme Heat Back In Forecast

(Lincoln, IL)  --  The extreme heat is back in the forecast this week.  Temperatures are expected to reach between 100 and 105 degrees between today and Wednesday.  The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for portions of Central Illinois, East Central Illinois, and Southeast Illinois.  Officials say isolated thunderstorms will likely follow the heat and could hit as soon as Wednesday.


>>Quinn To Reveal Drought Plan

(Springfield, IL)  --  Relief is coming down the pipe for Illinois farmers at risk of losing their entire crop.  The severe drought wiped out many fields, but state officials are planning to help cushion the loss.  Governor Quinn will unveil his drought plan this afternoon during a visit to a Southern Illinois farm.  Senator Dick Durbin met with farmers over the weekend and assured them they can apply for federal assistance, which include loans with a two-point-two five percent interest rate.  He says the loans will come in handy for farmers who do not have crop insurance.


>>Panel To Decide Smith Fate

(Chicago, IL)  --  The case against state representative Derrick Smith continues this week.  A house panel will hear evidence Thursday and come one step closer to deciding whether Smith should be kicked out of the legislature, punished, or exonerated.  Smith was charged with bribery for allegedly accepting a seven-thousand-dollar cash payout from a Chicago daycare owner.  His colleagues say his alleged behavior compromises the integrity of the House of Representatives.  They denied a request by Smith's attorney to delay the final hearing, saying there is no point in waiting.


>>Rockford Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

(Rockford, IL)  --  A soldier from Rockford, Illinois, has been killed in Afghanistan.  Department of Defense officials say Army Sergeant Michael Ristau died Friday after his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device.  The 25-year old joined the U.S. Army in 2010 and deployed to Afghanistan last December.  He leaves behind a wife and one child.


>>Universities Can No Longer Use Outside Hiring Firms

(Chicago, IL)  --  State universities in Illinois will no longer be able to use outside firms in most hiring searches.  Governor Pat Quinn signed a law Saturday to limit the practice as a way to save money.  Starting next year, public universities will have to rely on their own personnel to cast a net for top talent.  Outside firms will only be allowed in the hiring of university presidents or when a current president and Board of Trustees can demonstrate a need for such services.  The new law will take effect January 1st, and the universities will have six months to implement the new initiative.


>>Durbin Makes Pitch For Emergency Aid For Farmers

(Undated)  --  Beleaguered Illinois farmers would get needed relief under a new plan pitched by Senator Dick Durbin.  With drought conditions hammering statewide farmers and their crops Durbin is looking to pass an emergency assistance program.  Durbin met with top state and local agriculture officials yesterday in Gardner to discuss how lawmakers can approve his new Farm Bill.  The drought in Illinois is considered the state's worst since 1988.


>>Two Falls Investigated At Starved Rock State Park

(Oglesby, IL)  --  Two people are recovering from separate falls at an Illinois state park.  Authorities were on scene late yesterday afternoon at Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby.  The victims apparently took falls in a park area known as French Canyon.  The conditions of those involved wasn't immediately known.  Starved Rock Park is located about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.


>>IL Firm Expanding

(Tuscola, IL)  --  A large firm in Tuscola is making grand plans to expand.  Thanks to an increase in projects around the country J.L. Allen will be making parts for natural gas and oil pipelines at its new and expanded facility west of town.  Company officials say they'll nearly triple production at the new plant.  The natural fuel industry is forecasting eight-billion dollars worth of projects annually between now and the year 2035.